The Rainbow Division in the Great War, 1917-1919

By James J. Cooke | Go to book overview

the Argonne fighting would demonstrate.

The Rainbow Division did not come to grips with the potential of air power in the Aisne-Marne operation. It had the services of the highly competent 12th Areo Squadron, but that was an observation unit badly outnumbered by the German observation and fighter aircraft, which maintained almost complete air superiority. Rainbow doughboys recalled long after the fight how the German aircraft bombed, strafed, and observed at will, with nothing to impede their progress. There was no balloon company assigned to the Rainbows; neither did the division ask for one. Artillery, intelligence, and operational planners usually profited from the presence of a balloon company, but those long-range eyes were not there during the Aisne-Marne battles. Of course, the 12th Areo pilots reported back to Colonel Billy Mitchell that the Rainbow troops had almost no training in liaison, or air-ground coordination. What little the 12th Areo did was lost because of poor training and ignorance on the part of the infantry. This would change in the upcoming St. Mihiel and Argonne battles.

When the Rainbows began to depart the Fôret de Fére on 11 August, they were tired, dirty, hungry, cootie infested, and ready for a change. But this division had learned a lot from the terrible fighting, which had been so costly. Those National Guardsmen who had left Camp Mills in the late fall of 1917 were not callow youths any longer. It would not take long for the 42nd Division to be ready to participate in the next great battle of the war, St. Mihiel.


NOTES
1.
Calvin Lambert Diary, manuscript, Emporia Public Library, Emporia, Kansas, 181-82.
2.
John B. Hayes, Heroes Among the Brave (Loachapoka, Ala.: Lee County Historical Society, 1973).
3.
Francis P. Duffy, Father Duffy's Story ( New York: George H. Doran Co., 1919), 152-53.
4.
6th French Army, 18th Corps, General Operations Order No. 160 and 133.3, 25 July 1918, and Special Order No. 134.3 and 1902.3, 26 July 1918, in the National Archives, Washington, D.C., Records Group 120 Records of the AEF, 42nd Division, carton 13 (hereinafter, RG120). (these are English translations of the French orders, prepared at 38th Corps Headquarters for the 42nd Division headquarters.)
5.
John H. Taber, The Story of, the 168th Infantry ( Iowa City: State Historical Society of Iowa, 1925), 322-23.
6.
Ibid., 330.
7.
Ibid., 331.
8.
Manuscript prepared by First Lieutenant Edmund F. Hackett, "The Fight at Croix Rouge Farm," in the Alabama State Historical Archives, Montgomery, Alabama, 167th Infantry Collection. See also William B. Amerine, Alabama's Own in France ( New York: Eaton and Gettinger, 1919), 150.
9.
Hackett manuscript, 4.
10.
Ibid., 4-5.
11.
Amerine, Alabama's Own, 153-54. Hayes, Heroes Among the Brave, 26.

-135-

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The Rainbow Division in the Great War, 1917-1919
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Maps ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • INTRODUCTION BIRTH OF THE RAINBOW 1
  • 1 - From Camp Mills to France 7
  • Notes 24
  • 2 - Training for the Fight: Rolampont 29
  • Notes 48
  • 3 - In the Trenches at Lunéville 53
  • Notes 71
  • 4 - From Baccarat to Champagne 75
  • Notes 94
  • From Champagne to the Marne 97
  • Notes 113
  • 6 - Crossing the Ourcq River 117
  • Notes 135
  • 7 - The St. Mihiel Offensive 139
  • Notes 159
  • 8 - The Meuse-Argonne Campaign 163
  • Notes 182
  • 9 - From Sedan to Belgium and Luxembourg 187
  • Notes 205
  • 10 - Rainbow on the Rhine 209
  • Notes 228
  • 11 - The End of the Rainbow 233
  • Notes 245
  • APPENDIX A ORGANIZATION OF THE 42ND DIVISION, 1917 247
  • APPENDIX B EQUIPMENT TAKEN INTO TRENCHES, FEBRUARY 1918 251
  • Bibliography 253
  • Index 261
  • About the Author 272
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